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What Are The Laws Related To Boating In Florida?

What Are Alcohol Laws Surrounding Watercraft Carriers And Boats?

The alcohol laws for a personal watercraft are pretty much the same as a motor vehicle when it comes to boating under the influence. In Florida, the legal limit is 0.08% blood alcohol concentration. If you are more than 0.08, you are legally boating under the influence. The penalties are very similar to a DUI with a motor vehicle.

How Common Are Alcohol Related Boating Accidents In Florida?

Unfortunately, boating accidents involving alcohol are quite common. This is a result of lack of education with regards to the dangers of boating when you add alcohol to the mix. Boating under the influence hampers your ability to make good decisions with a vessel. The person driving that vessel under the influence may also be unknowledgeable about the laws of maritime navigation. This makes for a very  deadly combination.

There have been incidents where vessels have crashed into the underpass of bridges, into the pylons of bridges as well as propellers, maiming or killing people in the water. Most of the time, the operator failed to observe someone in the water and simply just drove over them up with their propeller engines. That is something that happens quite often.

What Are Other Common Boating Laws That Are Violated In Florida?

The boating navigation laws are just simply not followed. Since there are so many boats being controlled by people who don’t really have any knowledge of how to operate them or what the laws are, you see a lot of misuse of areas where there is protected marine wildlife.

There are manatees that are prone to warm water and have to come up for air. There are manatee zones where boaters are supposed to keep a very low speed so that if you see one, you won’t run it over. But this happens very frequently in South Florida. The manatee population has been nearly destroyed by these unconscious boaters to the point where they are almost extinct. Propeller blades are extremely dangerous.

Not only that, but when you are in a boat, keep in mind there are no brakes. You are in the ocean and are moving at a very high rate of speed. It takes quite some time for the boat to come to a full stop. In the case of a boat, you are riding on something that has current and wind, so you are being pushed.

If you are not familiar with the ocean and don’t have any experience on the water, those things could present a magnitude of problems. Some examples of possible causes of boating injuries range from simply entering your boat incorrectly and falling, flipping your boat to massive accidents or as a result of someone failing to understand where the navigational pylons are.

There are also boats out on the bay that are navigating late in the afternoon or early evening. There are people that go fishing at night as well. You have people coming from the South that were at sandbars drinking all day, speeding back to the city north on Biscayne Bay. There is commonly a lot of boat traffic. All of this magnifies the possible dangers.

Keep in mind, boats do not have lights like vehicles do. They only have small, colored navigational signals that are red or green and it becomes very hard to see, especially when you don’t have clear daylight. As a result, there are collisions where people are killed and maimed and it creates for a lot of mayhem on Biscayne Bay.

What Are Some Insurance Laws In Florida For Boating And Other Watercraft Carriers?

With the Jones Act, all maritime incidents are supposed to be handled by a maritime court, it’s called admiralty law. Alexis Izquierdo Law Firm has handled several of these cases and has gotten around admiralty restrictions due to the fact that under this type of law, sometimes you are only able to collect for the amount of the value of the vessel where the incident occurred and not anything further.

As for insurance, if the vessel is financed by a bank, they will require the owner to carry some type of insurance. However, it’s not mandatory. Alexis Izquierdo Law Firm has also handled cases where there have been horrific boating accidents between two vessels and the party that caused the accident didn’t have any insurance. In these cases, what you are left with under the laws of admiralty and the maritime laws is the amount or value of a used, old boat. Whatever value it has, that would be the value of the damages in the claim.

These cases can become very complex.

Read about the Laws Related To Boating In Florida or call the law office of Alexis Izquierdo for a free initial consultation at (305) 985-7800 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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